Revisionist Soviet Cultural History

In the old Soviet Union, “culture was a matter for the central committee and the Politburo. What kind of modern art should be allowed? Was jazz decadent? Which foreign plays should be staged? Even to pose these questions was all but unimaginable in the West; yet they were matters of state in the East. When Nikita Khrushchev, in a moment of notorious philistinism, denounced abstract modern painting during a visit to the Manezh gallery in Moscow in 1962, it changed the future course of Soviet art, breaking countless careers in the process. What Richard Nixon, LBJ or Harold Macmillan may—or may not—have thought about modern art was hardly a scratch on the canvas.”